Negotiations between unions at The Boston Globe and its owner, The New York Times Co., will continue after the company agreed to extend its midnight deadline for the newspapers’ employees to make $20 million in concessions.
“Because there has been progress on reaching needed cost savings, The Boston Globe will extend the deadline for reaching complete agreements with its unions until midnight Sunday May 3,” Globe spokesman Robert Powers said in a statement.
UPDATE At 8:00 PM on Sunday, the Boston Globe reported no deal at hand or possibly even near: “Boston Globe management has summoned the leaders of three of the newspaper’s major unions to the site of ongoing negotiations with the Boston Newspaper Guild, telling them to be prepared to ‘enter negotiations or receive a message from the company,’ union officials said.
“With just hours before a midnight deadline that could determine the future of the Boston Globe, the paper’s owner, the New York Times Co, has yet to reach deals with any of the Globe’s four major unions over $20 million dollars in total concessions it says it needs to keep operating the newspaper. The Times Co. has threatened to shutter the Globe unless it reaches agreement with the unions by midnight tonight.”
Leaders of the Boston Newspaper Guild, the Globe’s largest union, asked for an extension of Friday’s deadline after discovering what they called a $4.5 million accounting error. The Guild, which has been asked to come up with $10 million of the $20 million in concessions, said ownership mistakenly was counting the salaries and benefits of 80 people who have left their jobs at the Globe since the beginning of the year.
“We have given the New York Times Co. and Globe management proposals for deep cuts in our members’ pay and benefits that we believe will save The Boston Globe,” Daniel Totten, Guild president, said in a statement. “We are awaiting the company’s response.”
The concessions sought by the Times Co. could include pay cuts, a reduction in pension contributions and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees for some senior employees. Those guarantees state that the staffers cannot be let go without cause.
The Globe, like many newspapers, is struggling with declines in circulation and advertising. The Globe’s operations lost $50 million last year and are projected to lose $85 million this year.
The Times Co. announced in April that it would close the Globe unless the concessions were met.
Talks are expected to resume Saturday.